Friday, August 5, 2011

Facebook today for professional networking: Unblur your Personal and Professional

Facebook is constantly in the social media news, with good reason. Around 2008, it surpassed Myspace as the biggest social network, and has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. Even the recent Google+ beta program doesn't come close to the hype and hot stories around Mark Zuckerberg's college project. Most recently, the country of Germany has declared Facebook's new facial recognition software violates German data protection laws and in Columbus, Missouri a new law may restrict teacher/student interactions on Facebook. Just more drama from the collassal social network.

How many businesses have had a critically acclaimed movie made about their inception? (Even if Mark Zuckerberg hates it) In fact, I think I'm going to have to add The Social Network's trailer here, as one of the best movie trailers I've seen in a long time.

Facebook themselves will be the first to tout their amazing adoption rate. Click here to their impressive statistics. Some of the more stand-out numbers include:

  • More than 750 million active users

  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day

  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)

In addition, the demographics on Facebook have changed drastically in the last 3 years. Gone are the days where facebook was just a college student's party guide. The majority or recent user expansion has been with more mature age groups and it is a rare person that I meet who doesn't have a facebook page. I personally am friends with my great-aunt living in Killkenny, Ireland and my 12 year old cousin in Arizona. Since we are friends, of course, they have complete access to my profile, posts, pictures, and anything my friends put on my wall,

Being aware of your information's visability is key to avoiding blunders in the Facebook arena.

How does your profile page look?

Do you really want to 'share' that with every one of your 500 friends?

And with that in mind, do you want to be friends with your boss? Your customers? That analyst?

It's a tricky, sticky thing you are doing when you use Facebook for professional networking, but done with care, it can produce fantastic results. This blog post is about the first step you should take to keep your personal personal and still use Facebook for making connections in your professional life.

Rule #1 Seperate your Professional Friends and your other friends

Most people don't overshare on Linkedin. They connect to people based on education and past and present employments, and thus don't need to tell themselves not to share their bowling plans that night, or their pictures from their nephew's bar mitzvah. If you want to get traction with your professional contacts, it's best to take them out of the pool for all your everyday- interesting to your sister, not your former colleague-items. To do this easily, you just need to create a list that seperates out your professional contacts.

1. Click Friends from the left column

2. Click Manage Friend Lists

3. Click Create a List

4. Select all of your Professional Contacts to put them in the list

Here you see I am creating a list of Professional Contacts, and making it so my default sharing excludes them. For the inane items that I assume only my friends really care about.

1. Creating the List

2. Customizing my Post Settings

3. Excluding my Professional Contact

4. Posting my beach pictures for friends, not all my business contacts!

That is my #1 rule in using my personal Facebook account for business. Of course there are many other techniques to making the most of it. Most businesses have set up a Facebook Fan page, which can be a huge advantage and a great way to connect to customers. Also Facebook groups, searchable by industry can be a great way to connect and promote yourself. Before I leave you, I want to cite a great example of Facebook networking.

A friend of mine (and a Facebook friend!) works for a production company in London. He always has to keep up with local, entertainment, political, and cultural news for his role. He also has to produce original content based on his connections in London. Here's an example of him using Facebook to secure great leads from his 800+ contacts with a few quick posts.

Facebook Networking

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